Buying a new home can be the biggest decision of your life. It can be confusing and scary to balance what you want, what you need, and what you can afford. Luckily for you, I spent two decades in the NYPD Homicide division handling some of the most gruesome, convoluted, poorly-plotted murders you could imagine.

Here're a few tips for your house hunting adventure.

  • Location, location, location. You’re gonna want a place near bars, delis, and friendly neighborhood laundromats. These are chock-full of colorful characters who will be furiously vague witnesses in your murder investigation.
  • When you visit a place, try and meet your neighbors. They’re either gonna be 109 years old with a house full of birds or a group of unsupervised six-year-olds. Either way, they ain’t seen nothing.
  • Don’t trust all realtors. Is it really a walk-in closet? Quick rule of thumb: a true walk-in fits three knife-wielding maniacs.
  • Pay for space where it counts. You’re gonna want that king-sized bed in the master bedroom. Bigger the bed, better the chance of lab techs finding fluids. That’ll put the rotten skel away for at least 15 years.
  • A lotta folks don’t realize how much bay windows can add to a living room. After a long day you can put your feet up and look out at the city. Your neighbors can look inside and get a pristine view of the perp going to town on you with piano wire.
  • You can snag a discount if the previous occupant died inside. The pros: you can afford your kitchen renovation. Slight con: a copy-cat serial killer trying to drum up interest for his book on the original killer will probably whack ya on the kitchen island.
  • Everybody forgets about shelves. Where else are you gonna put that extra bottle of wine or the dusty shoebox of Polaroids proving you knew dated the perp in college? That’ll put him away for life.
  • Ya scared the home might be too small? Don’t worry. Doubt you’ll make it that long in this city.
  • If you’re religious, a house near your place of worship can make life easy. Sure, the first time a couple of homicide cops talk to your local priest, he won’t give up any info, but when he has a crisis of faith and tells the detectives you were thinking of leaving your husband (the wealthy hand surgeon), your case is as good as closed.
  • You never want a decomposed body to fall through your living room wall. What’s the best way to prevent this? Ask about the insulation.
  • You don’t need to keep the same layout as previous occupants, but make sure you have enough furniture to awkwardly stage in front of all the hidden wall safes, crawl space trap doors, and incriminating evidence hidey-holes that come with every home.
  • Even if you don’t have kids yet, invest in that backyard. Before you know it they’ll be old enough to toss around the ol’ pigskin and accidentally dig up those missing coeds under your herb garden.
  • Always make your home just that: yours. You’ll live there, laugh there, and love there. Simple as that. I wish ya the best of luck. Just gimme a call if that windowless van drives by again…